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King Lear Plot
Transcript of King Lear Plot
King Lear declares his "retirement" and tells Goneril, Regan and Cordelia to declare their love in exchange for the best third of England. While They rule he spends the rest of his life living like a king sustained by his daughters with 100 knights
He throws his crown to the air and onto the floor symbolizing the division of the kingdom.
Regan and Goneril flatter him telling Lear they love him more than life itself
Cordelia tells him the truth (she can't love him more than life because 'she loves him exactly as much as a daughter should love her father' and once she's married he'll only have half of her love because her husband shall have the other half. "Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth."
Lear is insulted by Cordelia's honesty and even loving her the most he disowns her and banishes her from his kingdom (he also takes back her dowry and splits her third amongst Goneril and Regan)
Kent who tries to defend her by telling Lear he is 'Blind' is also banished and has 5 days to leave the realm. If he's found on the 6th he'll be killed
Lear offers Cordelia's hand in marriage (without dowry) to the Duke of Burgundy, he refuses. Then The king of France accepts her hand with or without land.
Regan and Goneril get together in secrecy and decide they need to reduce their father's authority. Scene 2 Overview of events Edmund, Gloucester's bastard son, enters on his own
Starts a monologue with a letter in his hand
He resents Edgar and feels like he has suffered a great injustice because he is as much of a son as Edgar.
He decides he needs to get rid of Edgar and take what is rightfully his (land, title, money etc)
"Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound.… Now, gods, stand up for bastards!"
Gloucester enters and asks to read the letter.
Edmund forged the letter so it seems that Edgar has written it.
In the letter 'Edgar' asks Edmund to help his kill Gloucester so that they can both share his land and wealth.
Gloucester is enraged by his new discovery
Gloucester leaves and Edgar enters
Edmund tells Edgar their father is mad at him and he tells him to go and wait at his house so he can avoid him. Edmund also tells Edgar to take a weapon with him and stay armed at all times. Plot Overview Introduction + Act 1 Introduction Time: The Play is set in the dark ages which was a horrible period in time for England. After the fall of the Roman Empire England was in a shambles and the Vikings invaded every now and again to steal food and other materials and destroy villages. Also keep n mind that at this time England was a Pagan country. William Shakespeare: Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-avon and is probably the most famous playwrite world wide. He worked for the Globe theatre in London. He was married to Anne Hathaway and had 3 kids: Susanna Hall, Hamnet Shakespeare e Judith Quiney. He died on the 23rd of April 1616 (surprisingly on the exact day of his birthday only 52 years later) Act 3 Act 2 Act 4 Act 5 Themes Scene 3 Scene 4 Scene 5 Oswald (Goneril's steward [servent]) Lear is spending the first month of his retirement at Goneril's house.
Goneril is talking to Oswald and asks him whether Lear has hit him for telling his jester off. Oswald confirms Goneril's suspicions.
Goneril is distressed, for her father is a nuisance and he disobeys her order in her own house.
She orders her servents to be rude to him and his knights.
Goneril decides she must talk to her sister Regan because she knows she will agree with her on these matters. Overview of events Character analysis Conclusion Scene 3 Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 4 Overview of events Overview of events Overview of events Overview of events Fool King's Jester (he entertains the king) Act Summary King lear splits the crown between Goneril and Regan
Cordelia is banished and disowned
Cordelia marries France
Kent's banished too
Edmund writes letter to frame Edgar of plotting his fathers murder.
King Lear is being a nuisance at Goneril's house. Goneril kicks him out and writtes to Regan to tell her to support her cause.
Lear is kicked out from Goneril's house and is on his way to Regan's home.
Fool mocks Lear and tells him how foolish he is for letting all his power go. Act Summary Scene 2 Scene 1 Scene 4 Scene 3 Scene 5 Scene 6 Scene 7 Overview of events Overview of events Overview of events Overview of events Overview of events Overview of events Overview of events Act Summary Scene 1 Overview of events Scene 2 Overview of events Scene 3 Overview of events Scene 4 Overview of events Scene 5 Overview of events Scene 6 Overview of events Scene 7 Overview of events Act Summary Act Summary Scene 1 Overview of events Scene 2 Overview of events Scene 3 Overview of events Overview of events Kent appears disguised at Goneril's house
Disguised Kent befriends King Lear. He 'protects' the King from Oswald and is 'employed' by the King.
Lear asks Oswald where Goneril is Oswald tells him she's 'sick' but Lear insists on seeing her her for dinner
Fool appears for the first time and uses his jokes and riddles to call the King stupid. Lear isn't pleased but he doesn't do anything. Fool also voices his views of Goneril (He doesn't like her or Regan for that matter. He liked Cordelia and is upset because she was banished. Knight 3 tells Lear he spent the last 2 days weeping because she was banished).
Goneril says Fool's the only one that can actually voice his thoughts to Lear.
Fool says Lear now has 2 mothers instead of 3 daughters because he banished Cordelia and gave Goneril and Regan all the power so now they are superior to him and can tell him what to do in a sense.
Goneril comes upset and tells Lear off for causing riots and disorder in her house.
Lear disowns Goneril and decides he is going to leave her house: "Darkness and devils! Saddle my horses; call my train together: Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee. Yet have I left a daughter."
Lear is filled with anger and rage and cries: "That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus, that these hot tears, which break from me perforce [...]
Gonerilconvinced 50 of lears knights to leave and Lear leaves Goneril's house for good. He disowns her but has no power to remove her part of the kingdom and crown.
Lear is sure Regan will defend him and decides to leave to her home.
Goneril calls Albany (her husband) a coward for choosing to defend Lear
Goneril has written to Regan and she's sure that her sister will support her cause. Oswald was sent to give her the letter. Fool The Fool is the only character that can actually Voice his thoughts to Lear. In ACT 1, SCENE 4 Goneril says: "sir, this your all-licensed fool [...]". All-licensed means he has the right to speak his mind. However the Fool does mention the fact that he is whipped constantly by the king (for telling lies, the truth, or even for keeping quiet). The fool plays vital importance int he play because he is the one that puts Lear's actions into context in a certain manner: He's the one that shows the reader how absurd this whole thing really is. Note: In scene 4, Fool mentions an egg metaphor: "Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll give thee two crowns." (line.....)
Here he means that by throwing his crown onto the floor, symbolizing the splitting of his power, Lear has made a grave mistake. One can't half an egg in 2 without making a huge mess, the same way a crown can't be split in 2 without creating disputes and havoc. Fool means that Lear can't simply have 2 people ruling England and have 2 separate parts of the same country. Goneril and Regan can't both have equal power, what if they disagree? Then what? Lear hasn't thought his plan through and by using this metaphor Fool mocks him and implies he's a spoilt old man who is tired of having responsibilities to go along with his power. Lear wants all the benefits of being king without any of the problems and troubles that come with it. Here Lear is asking the gods to make Goneril sterile because she doesn't deserve to have children: "a babe to honour her"
'If she must have a child then make it a horrible one, which will torment her and put wrinkles on her youthful face.'
Lear shows how selfish he is in this extract. He wishes his daughter ill only because he didn't get his way.
He says having a thankless child is 'sharper' than a serpent's tooth. (it's worse) Note: (Line ...-...) Overview of events Lear, Kent (disguised) and Fool enter the scene.
Lear orders Kent to send Gloucester a letter telling him he's going to go live with Regan now. Kent leaves.
Fool says: "i can tell why a snail has a house[...] to puts it's head in, not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case." Here Fool mocks Lear and says he's stupid for letting Regan and Goneril have his kingdom, crown and power.
Fool also says Lear is old and foolish and that he was made grave mistakes. Lear begs the gods for patience and begs them not to make him 'mad' Edmund's servant appears and tells him about Lear's movements and asks him whether he has heard about the war that might rise between Goneril and Albany and Regan and Cornwall.
Gloucester has arrived to Edmund's house and Edmund orders Edgar to leave and hide and remain armed for Gloucester is enraged and will find him.
Edgar runs away and Edmund strikes his own arm with his sword.
Gloucester enters and Edmund blames his wound on Edgar and says he went there to persuade him to help kill Gloucester. (Edmund is manipulating both Gloucester and Edgar)
Gloucester becomes angry and sends a search party for Edgar.
Duke of Cornwall and Regan arrive at Gloucester's house to intercept King Lear and his people.
At this stage the 2 plots haven't yet intersected and no one in the primary plot knows about the problems in the second story line.
Edmund gains Cornwall's trust. (Cornwall noticed how 'loyal' Edmund is to his father) Goneril's house Edmund's house (Gloucester) Regan's house King, fool, kent and 50 knights
Left Goneri's place and are going to Regan's but stop at Gloucester's house first. Oswald
sent to Gloucester's house to tell them about Lear's movements. Regan and Cornwall
wish to intercept her father at Gloucester's house to tell him that she's on Goneril's side. X Where everyone meets Kent (still disguised) meets Oswald at Gloucester's house
Oswald doesn't recognize him from before when he was tripped by Kent in Act 1. Kent curses Oswald and mistreats him
He threatens Oswald and tells him to draw his sword and fight him but Oswald is cowardly and begs for help.
Edmund, Gloucester, Regan and Cornwall enter and stop Kent. They ask him what is going on.
Oswald tells them the truth but leaves out the bit where he begs for help.
Kent realizes he is in trouble for Lear isn't there to defend him and no one there's on his (Lear's) side.
Kent is punished by being put on the stocks
Kent reads a letter that he has received from Cordelia, in which she promises to fix things Edgar walk onto the stage and is afraid he'll soon be caught.
He strips himself of his clothing and leaves nothing but a loin cloth.
He also puts mud all over himself, to add to the effect.
He then ties his hair in knots and creates his disguise.
He calls himself Poor Tom and wonders off int the open land pretending to be absolutely insane.
He is now searching for food and shelter. Lear arrives and sees Kent he is appalled at their nerve to punish the 'King's' messenger (Lear agrees with Kent because he dislikes Oswald.)
Lear demands to see Regan and Cornwall, but Gloucester was sent to tell him that they are "sick" and can't see him (Keep in mind this is all happening in the middle of the night)
Lear is outraged but tries to keep his cool.
Eventually Regan and Cornwall appear
Lear tells Regan about Goneril's actions and how badly she's treated him.
Regan says that Goneril isn't wrong in kicking him out because he is old and hes being unreasonable. She tells him to apologize to Goneril.
Lear asks Regan to give him shelter, but she says no.
Goneril arrives and both Regan and her join forces against Lear.
They ask him to give up another half of his knghts for shelter but he refuses.
(Regan and Goneril are queens they have a lot of room and servants, it's not like they have to share a room with Lear's knights, still they break their promise to Lear.)
He then curses both his daughters and storms out of the house with the Fool.
Gloucester asks Regan and Goneril to bring him back in but they refuse and ask the doors to be locked so Lear can't return.
He is now stuck in the middle of a storm.
At this stage Gloucester has little to no control of his own house and servants, because even if he's on Lear's side of things Regan is more powerful and has taken control. In Act 2 several things happen, both to the main plot involving Lear and his daughters and Edmund's plot against his father and brother.
Lear is kicked out by Goneril for being riotous, he then goes to seek Regan. Regan and Cornwall travel to Gloucester's house to stop Lear. Before they arrive Edmund tells Edgar to run away, and then continues manipulating Gloucester to make him think Edgar's evil. Edgar is then out in the middle of the storm, he disguises himself and hides. Kent is put on the stocks for abusing Oswald. When Regan and Goneril both arrive to Gloucester's house they kick Lear out into the storm. Lear and the Fool are then left in the middle of the storm. Kent is released from the stocks and finds one of Lear's knights.
He finds out that Lear is roaming around in the storm.
Kent tells the knight about a possible war between Cornwall and Albany and that there are French spies in the English courts.
The knight tells Kent to head to Dover* because he'll find support for Lear there.
Kent gives the knight his ring so that he can give it to Cordelia. . Dover is the city in England closest to France. Lear is still wandering in mid storm.
he curses nature and both his daughters
At this stage we notice his mental health is deteriorating rapidly Gloucester and Edmund enter
Gloucester complains that he no longer has power in his own house. and that because of Regan and Goneril's control he can no longer support the king like he wants to (he says he'd die for Lear).
He tells Edmund that there is a division between the dukes and hat war may rise.
Gloucester also mention a letter he has received from Cordelia and that he hid it in his wardrobe and he pray's that edmund will keep the secret and be careful. Gloucester leaves
"This courtesy, forbid thee, shall the Duke instantly know and of the letter too.
This seems fair deserving and must draw me
That which my father loses, no less than all.
The younger rises when the old doth fall.
Exit" (Act 3 , end of scene 3)
What he means here is: 'The duke will know of Gloucester's courtesy to Lear and of the letter from Cordelia (that'll brand him a traitor). This seems fair. My father will lose everything. And I will rise when he falls.' Lear and disguised Kent show on stage.
Kent shows Lear the hovel and tells the king to go inside and protect himself from the storm.
He mentions the tyranny of the storm. That could be a metaphor for Lear's daughters.
He also says he'd die for Lear:
Lear- wilt break mine heart?
Kent- I had rather break mine own. Original Text: Modern version of Text: http://nfs.sparknotes.com/lear/page_158.html Act 3 scene 4 line 6 Lear tells the Fool to go inside the hovel and protect himself from the strom, but he refuses to go inside because his rage over takes his feelings for the storm.
Fool goes in. a while later he runs out yelling that there is a spirit inside.
Out comes disguised Edgar from the hovel.
Poor Tom (Edgar's disguise) says that the Devil haunts him and that fiends posses his body and chase him. Lear is now going mad so he befriends Poor Tom and they talk.
Poor Tom tells his story and Lear listens ... his mental state's deteriorating rapidly now
"This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen"
Poor Tom and Lear ramble on.... Act 3 scene 4 line 99 http://nfs.sparknotes.com/lear/page_166.html Gloucester appears with a torch and begs Lear to return to his castle. They exit... Edmund and Cornwall appear
Edmund tells him about the letter and Gloucester's submission to Lear.
Cornwall is appalled and gives Edmund the title of Earl of Gloucester
Edmund (aside) says that if he finds his father comforting the King they will believe him even more
Cornwall says that Edmund that he'll be his father. Enter Kent (still disguised) and Gloucester
Gloucester says: The hovel is better than open air...I'll be back soon
Enter Edgar, Fool and Lear...
Lear and Edgar hold a mock trial of Lear's wicked daughters, with Kent, and the Fool watching
Gloucester rushes back in telling Kent he has overheard of a plot to kill Lear.
He tells Kent to take Lear to Dover where he'll be safe. Fool, Lear and Kent leave.
Edgar stays and talks about how petty his own suffering seems now that he has seen Lear. he feels terribly sorry for Lear who's suffering is slowly killing him.
"How light and portable my pain seems now,
When that which makes me bend makes the king bow." Gloucester gives the letter to Goneril
He asks that she shows it to Albany
They find out that Gloucester has told Lear to go to Dover to be safe
Gloucester is caught, Edmund is sent with Goneril so that they don't have to watch his torture
Regan and Cornwall tie him to a chair and take out one of this eyes.
When they're about to take out the other one of Gloucester's former servants says no, he still is loyal to the Earl, and challenges Cornwall to a duel (in that time it was SUPER rare that a servant duels a master because that was 'illegal'. a duel only happened with people of the same 'level' of power and royalty.)
The Servant wounds Cornwall, Regan breaks the 'code of chivalry' and stabs Servant in the back. Servant died and Cornwall is bleeding a lot.
They take Gloucester's other eye out.
Gloucester begs for Edmund's help but Regan tells her how Edmund betrayed him. He then realized he trusted the wrong son.
'Regan and Cornwall order that Gloucester be thrown out of the house to “smell / His way to Dover” (3.7.96–97). Cornwall, realizing that his wound is bleeding heavily, exits with Regan’s aid.' - sparknotes